Denver mayor's 2018 budget prioritizes mobility, affordability and behavioral health

$1.39 billion proposal sent to city council
Posted at 7:23 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 21:23:11-04

DENVER -- Mayor Michael Hancock says the $1.39 billion budget he has proposed for 2018, reflects the priorities and values of the residents of Denver.

It includes additional funding for mobility and transportation, affordable housing, help for the homeless and behavioral health.

"It addresses the critical needs of a changing, diverse city," he said.

During a morning news conference, Hancock said $31.5 million will be spent to implement the new Mobility Action Plan -- to move more people more efficiently and safely.

It includes investments for:

  • 10 miles of bike lanes
  • Implementation of the new Vision Zero Action Plan, with a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, including expanded photo enforcement, increased roadside electronic message boards and other safety signage.
  • Reconstruction of eight dangerous intersection to improve safety Continuation of the Safe Routes to School program
  • A new $4.5 million sidewalk repair program
  • $5 million from marijuana revenue for deferred capital maintenance

“The state of the city is strong and the state of the economy is strong,” he said. “We desire to have the economy strong for everyone, serving the needs of the most vulnerable.”

The mayor said his budget also provides: 

  • $21.6 million for affordable housing
  • $4.5 million for new sidewalk repair
  • $5.0 million of marijuana revenue to fix and repair streets
  • $4.0 million to fix aging parks and rec centers
  • $3.6 million for expanded trash and recycling services

He also said $3.0 million has been budgeted for Vision Zero.

“So far, in 2017, we have seen 40 vehicular deaths in our city,” he said. “We’ve got to move quickly to address that issue.”

Federal Boulevard has seen its share of serious crashes.

“Speed is one of the top issues that we need to address on Federal,” said Crissy Fanganello, the city’s director of transportation and mobility. “It’s not just at one location, it’s more of a systemic issue.”

Fanganello told Denver7 that when she asks people if they want a walkable city or a bike-able city, “everyone always says, ‘yes.'" 

"If I ask them if they always drive the speed limit, sometimes they look at me, like, ‘why would I do that?’”

Fanganello said it’s important that Denver residents understand that personal cultures and values match our actions.

The transportation director said they can lower the speed limit on Federal, but it likely wouldn’t change behavior.

“So, we have to look at it from an enforcement perspective and a design perspective,” she said. “How can we change the geometry of the road, the timing of the signals?  All those things are coming into play.”

She also said money can be a challenge, so “we’re trying to be smart and are looking at technology.”

Fanganello said expanded photo enforcement is an option.

“There’s been a lot of concern about automated enforcement,” she said, “but when you look at other cities… that’s something that we probably need to give more thought to because it’s making a big difference in other cities.”